Security specialist gives insight into sports, entertainment safety planning

A security consultant speaks with KLTV Sports Director Michael Coleman about the recent LA Rams field breach and security at the Academy Awards.
Published: Oct. 7, 2022 at 6:34 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - A security consultant speaks with KLTV Sports Director Michael Coleman about the recent LA Rams field breach and security at the Academy Awards.

Security Specialist Anthony Burnside of Kansas City has handled security for many major live events. Today, he addresses how people manage to “get through the cracks” like the men who made it to the field at a recent LA Rams game.

Burnside said, “NFL security was able to catch one of them, and unfortunately somehow it seems like the second person passed through the cracks with that device.”

Burnside had posted on social media that the role the players took in responding to this breach could be problematic, opening them up to potentially being sued. It turned out, in the following days, they were.

“The smart money is on standing down,” Burnside said. “This is basically the same thing as someone breaks into your house and hurts themselves, and they can sue you. And, of course, this gentleman did file a police report that next day, according to TMZ. So, the best bet is to stand down. Let security handle it; that’s what security is for.”

Asked about how successful this lawsuit may or may not be, he said, “I’m not an attorney; I would think—one good thing about living in this country is you can sue anyone for anything. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it will ever see a day in court...who knows.”

Burnside continued to explain how security personnel approach a venue before a major event takes place. “When you look at the stadium, when you look at an environment where you have security, you have to think about reaction time and how can security react to quell a threat.”

“I’m sure the next game, the NFL security will be set up to quell those threats. Just think twice before you interject yourself into that equation,” Burnside said, speaking about the role of the players.

All the same, he emphasized that strong security is important. “You have to be careful because you don’t know the intention of that individual,” he said.

The conversation then turned to the incident that took place at the 94th Academy Awards, when actor Will Smith stepped up on stage and slapped comedian Chris Rock.

“There was security present, and I think Mr. Rock had his own security team there, but when you do those shows—and, you know, I’ve worked a lot of those events—when you do those particular shows, you do have security present, and you do a run-through of the show. I think that some of the people thought that this was part of the show somehow,” Burnside said. “No one thought another A-lister would come up on stage and slap another A-lister. That was inconcievable, but now it’s part of the threat matrix.”

Burnside explained how security planning is evolving in this way as incidents occur. “We plan from A to Z for every possible attack that could ever manifest itself. That one just probably didn’t seem to be in the cards because no one would think that, but now we do. Now we know that’s a possibility.”

In conclusion, he said a significant part of security planning for events comes down to response time. “We know attacks happen within 25 feet or less, so what would be the response time? You have to think about that...and of course, this particular case with Mr. Smith, I’m thinking no one really thought that was going to happen...future shows and future events take that into account now.”